Klezmer Music/Dance

Members of Nahalat Shalom are fortunate that they can enjoy live Jewish music at many functions and services performed by 2 in-house bands: The Nahalat Shalom Community Klezmer Band & Alavados-Nahalat Shalom's Holy Days Band. Our congregation's Yiddish dance troupe "Rikud" also leads traditional Jewish dances to the music of these great bands.

Alavados - Holy Days Band

Alavados Holy Days band is comprised of Nahalat Shalom's musical director & cantorial soloist Beth Cohen (guitar, violin and vocals) and congregation members Barbara Friedman (electric bass), with violinists Jeff Brody and Gabrielle Rosen, flutist Ilene Dunn, clarinetist Clem Wings, percussionist Robin Berman and trombonist Neal Weinberg. Since 1999, Alavados has provided beautiful accompaniment for our congregational prayers, songs and dances during Rosh Hashanah, Kol Nidre, Yom Kippur, S'lichot, Der Freylekher Shabbes, Chanukkah Simchat Shabbat, Tu B'shevat, Purim, Shavuot services and many other special events and services at Nahalat Shalom including the 2013 Festival Djudeo-Espanyol concert with Cantor Neil Manel Frau-Cortes. The band has begun to perform locally including a performance for OASIS Albuquerque on January 30, 2015. All of the musicians in Alavados are also members of The Nahalat Shalom Community Klezmer Band.

The Nahalat Shalom Community Klezmer Band

NSCKB, circa Chanukah 2000

NSCKB, circa Chanukah 2000

The Nahalat Shalom Community Klezmer Band (NSCKB)  is one of THE WORLD'S OLDEST (since 1995) and LARGEST (23 members and growing) INTERGENERATIONAL COMMUNITY klezmer mixed orchestra! The band is taught and directed by Nahalat Shalom's cantorial soloist and music director Beth Cohen, who has a lifetime of experience (we won't say how long, but it's long!) as a music teacher to all ages of students, as a world music and classical music performer, and as a band and orchestra director. Over the years, the NSCKB has learned and performed a repertoire of exciting, lively and beautiful klezmer, Jewish, Israeli, Sephardic & Eastern European dance music that ALL levels and ages of musicians play, perform and enjoy. 

The NSCKB performs professionally throughout New Mexico, at Nahalat Shalom's services and events, at public and private concerts and simchas (joyous celebrations). Some band members are members of the congregation-and some are not, some are Jewish-and some are not: there are no special requirements to play in this band except for knowing the basics of one's instrument. The love that band members have for klezmer music reverberates throughout every performance and on the band's CD: "Lomir Alle Tantzen!-Let's All Dance!" Band members share a unique camaraderie, and are drawn to klezmer music for a variety of reasons: its beauty, its exotic sounding scales and modes, its technical challenges, its emotional and joyous nature, the connection it makes to Jewish roots and ancient traditions, and the opportunities it gives them to perform together. The NSCKB also hosts an 'open to all ' klezmer jam at Nahalat Shalom's monthly 'Der Freylekher Shabbes' which is usually held on the first Friday of each month (and sometimes on the 2nd Friday) from 6:30-9pm. Check the web site calendar and join us for an old-country heimishe (homey) celebration! ALL are welcome to all or any part of the evening's celebrations: 6:30pm- Old-country danced, sing-a-long Shabbat service with live music by Alavados and Cantorial soloist Beth Cohen, 7:15pm-Vegetarian potluck dinner, 8pm- 'Open-to-ALL' Klezmer jam with more recreational folk dancing led by Rikud.

Click here for the CURRENT (Fall/Winter 2017) Klezband and Rikud schedule Klezband and Rikud schedule of rehearsals and performances- please check on-line calendar and with band director for last minute changes before coming to a rehearsal for the first time.

To Buy The Band's CD for $10.00, contact Beth Cohen at cohenedmunds@netzero.net


Members of  The Nahalat Shalom Community Klezmer Band performed for the ABQ Open Space Concert Series at Elena Gallegos Picnic grounds, August 2013 (and 2014). 
Front Row L to R: Claudia Flugge, Gabrielle Rosen, Lisa Powell, Beth Cohen, Tony Fajdiga, David Willet, Nancy Terr. Back Row L to R: Ginny Gins, Randi Thompson, Barbara Friedman, Robin Berman, Rebecca Salazar, Clem Wings, Patsy Gregory, Ilene Dunn, Joan Bowden. Current band members missing from photo: Jeff Brody-violin, Neal Weinberg-trombone, John Karon-trumpet, Clara Byom-clarinet.
Photo Credit to: Kathleen Smith 2013

Rikud Dance Troupe

Rehearsing together on Sunday afternoons from 2-4pm, The NSCKB began and grew alongside Nahalat Shalom's community Yiddish dance troupe Rikud. Sharing the joy of community dance, Rikud leads the Klezmer dancing at Congregation Nahalat Shalom and at public performances and workshops with the NSCKB. Beginners, intermediate and advanced dancers are all welcome to join in. Both groups study extensively with world renowned klezmer scholars, musicians and dancers at KlezmerQuerque -the internationally recognized annual festival of klezmer music & dance which is produced and organized by The NSCKB and Rikud.

The Rebbe’s Orkestra

The Rebbe’s Orkestra, is a popular professional concert and simcha ensemble that performs throughout the southwest. Band members includes Nahalat Shalom's cantorial soloist and music director Beth Cohen (violin/ mandolin/tenor banjo/lead vocals), Barbara Friedman (electric bass/ tambura/vocals), Randy Edmunds (guitar/tambura/vocals), Debo Orlofsky (accordion/vocals), Mary Masuk (percussion: pojk, snare drum, doumbek, riq & cymbal), and Clara Byom (clarinets). In 2010 the band celebrated the release of its first CD 'Klezmer y mas" to widespread acclaim. The Rebbe's Orkestra also performs and accompanies the special guest artists at the annual festival KlezmerQuerque, sharing the stage with klezmer luminaries such as Elaine Hoffman-Watts, Susan Hoffman, Margot Leverett, Michael Alpert, Jake Shulmen-Ment, Steven Weintraub and Adrianne Greenbaum. Beth, Barbara, and Randy have also performed & studied Balkan folk music extensively for over 30 years, and find the musical and community connections resonate in klezmer music. Barbara Friedman says, "I love these people and playing with them. I love the melodies and the different scales... and this music is connected to Middle Eastern and Balkan music. It feels like Jewish soul music. The most fun is playing for people to dance." Randy notes, "I think playing music brings people together as a community—this is something we have lost as a society. It gives people a chance to dance and be together in a way we don't get to much any more."

Our beloved and departed Sephardic cantorial soloist, Lorenzo (Lawrence) Dominguez Z"L, who played guitar and sang with The Rebbe's Orkestra and also performed in and named Nahalat Shalom's holy days band "Alavados" (which means "supplications"), said that the music connected him with the spiritual dimension: "The music enhances everything for me spiritually, makes the circle more complete. The Ladino (Sephardic) music is something I've been listening to for a long time, but now, learning the Klezmer music is deepening and completing my experience."

Enjoy the Rebbe's Orkestra at the Albuquerque Jewish Community Center Concert and Hanukkah Celebration on Saturday, December 16 from 6:30 - 9:00 pm.  For more information, download FLYER.

Listen to the band now!